Divorce isn’t easy for anyone involved. It can be especially hard on kids who often don’t understand why their parents are splitting up or what their new family situation will look like. If you’re a parent considering divorce, there are some things to think about before you tell your children the news, good and bad.
It can be hard to know how to handle telling your kids about an impending divorce. Making matters more difficult is the fact that children handle the news of divorce differently, depending on their age and personality. Here are four tips that can help make telling your kids about divorce easier:
1. Be Organized When Telling Your Child About the Divorce
Child custody issues can be difficult to navigate on your own, so it’s a good idea to have a child psychologist or therapist help you. They can also offer advice about how to talk with your child about the divorce, and they might be able to provide advice about the best custody arrangement based on your child’s personality and interests. Often, therapists can also refer you to a child custody lawyer so that you and your spouse can reach an amicable agreement on this matter.
If you see a therapist or psychologist, ask them how you should handle telling your kids about the divorce without making it seem like their fault. While you certainly want to be honest with them, they must understand that your decision wasn’t their fault and that they’re not responsible for the divorce.
2. Make Sure Your Child Is in a Safe Environment
Your child needs to be in a safe environment when you tell them about the divorce. If the kids are in the middle of an argument about whose turn it is to use the TV, for example, wait until everyone has calmed down before telling them you and your spouse are splitting up.
You also need to tell your kids about the divorce in a private place that’s free of distractions. It’s not a good idea to break the news via text message or over the phone. This needs to be done in person for your child to feel safe, secure, and comfortable with the situation.
3. Avoid Blaming Anyone for the Divorce
The most important thing to think about when telling your kids about the divorce is to avoid blaming anyone for the divorce. Kids might already feel like the reason things didn’t work out is their fault, and you should try to reassure them that their parents’ decision wasn’t because of anything they did.
As long as both parties are willing, divorcing couples should try to maintain an amicable relationship with each other after a divorce. It can be important for children to have a loving relationship with both parents even if it’s not together anymore. If you’ve asked their permission, it might also be a good idea for your child to talk with one or both of you privately about the separation before talking in front of one another.
4. Kids Are Different
It’s also important to remember that every child is different. While you know your child best, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for telling them about the divorce. Some kids are relieved when they find out their parents aren’t getting along, while others are devastated by the news. In some cases, kids might feel like they’ve been abandoned or feel less secure about their situation.
Often, the best way to know how your children will react is to simply ask them. Let them know that you’re struggling with this decision because it’s important to you, but that you want them to be happy with whatever decision you make. This can make your children feel more involved in the process, and it might even help ease some of the anxiety they’re feeling.
If you think it’s best to wait before telling your children about the divorce, you can think about ways to help your kids cope with the separation. Consider reading them a book or showing them a related movie that might make them feel better. It’s not always best to tell children about the divorce right away if they feel overwhelmed with school, sports, or other activities.
In some cases, the stress of a divorce to your child can make it difficult for them to sleep or eat properly. In these instances, it might be better to tell your kids about the divorce when they’re not so distracted. It might also be a good idea for you and your spouse to consider taking turns telling your child about the divorce.
It’s never easy telling your child about the divorce, but it can be challenging if you don’t know how they’ll react. You want to make sure that you’re in a safe environment when you break the news and that no one is blaming anyone for their decision. It might also help to let them know that this isn’t an easy choice for either party involved. If your kids struggle emotionally after finding out about your divorce, simply being there for them is enough.